The head of the National Guard Bureau, Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Blum, says that the National Guard provides “real, critically needed skills and real capabilities, not just some PowerPoint slide promises.” Blum, who was speaking at the National Guard Association of the United States conference in New Mexico, said that 9/11 sparked a “no-notice transformation” of the Guard, citing, as one example, the phenomenal progress the Guard has made over the past five years in creating 45 weapons of mass destruction and civil support teams, 54 24-hour-a-day joint operations centers, and 54 reaction forces, among other capabilities. Blum said: “You name the theater, the Guard is there. You name the operation, the Guard is there.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.